The Bug Whisperer
By Cyndi Wilkins
(5 min read)
As my daughter prepares to fly the coup for college life, I reminisce with heartfelt memories of her childhood. That is what we moms do while we mentally prepare ourselves to let our little fledglings go.
Our hearts are breaking at the thought of separation from our children, yet they are full of incredible love for the amazing adults our children will become.
One of my favorite memories was the summer of 2014, as hurricane Arthur was having its way with the East coast.
After pummeling North Carolina as a Category 2 storm, it weakened a bit as it made its way northward, sweeping past Cape Cod and Nantucket, before transitioning into what was referred to as an ‘extratropical cyclone.’
Nonetheless, it was still powerful enough to cause widespread property damage, floods, and power outages. It certainly put a damper on our annual Fourth of July celebration, which included the cancellation of the much-anticipated fireworks display.
That was like a Christmas without Santa, and completely unacceptable to my then ten-year-old daughter.
She decided that a trip to the movie theater and a bit of shopping would ease her disappointment. We were all in agreement as a day at the beach had us all wiped out anyway.
We would catch the early show, do a bit of shopping on the way out, and be home and in bed by 10:30. Sounded like a good plan to me, but as it turns out, it was wishful thinking. We did manage to make it home a little after 10:00, and my daughter decided to hang out under the front porch light to play with her buzzing bug buddies flying all around it. This was typical of her as she would spend hours out in our garden turning over rocks and bringing her creepy little friends into the house to meet me.
Such was her love for them, we called her “The Bug Whisperer.” We were certain she would become an entomologist one day.
So, I left her to her private conversations with her flying friends and went inside to check email and have a nightcap before turning in. Within minutes I was catapulted from my chair by her blood-curdling screams.
Suddenly, our two cats came flying through the living room as if their tails were on fire! My daughter stumbled in after them, arms flailing wildly, looking like she had seen a ghost. Now I have seen her frightened before, but this kid was white as a sheet.
My wife went outside and found the sweatshirt she had been wearing thrown across the porch railing. And there it was, sitting on the collar…the biggest, ugliest, nastiest roach you have ever seen! I swear this thing was four inches long, and an inch and a half wide! Had I been wearing that sweatshirt…CARDIAC ARREST! No question!
We went to my daughter to tell her we had found the culprit, but she just kept screaming….”Kill it, kill it, kill it!!!!” Now, this was very uncharacteristic of our bug-loving little girl.
She has read me the riot act for stepping on ants. But one thing was certain, no one was getting any sleep until this monster was dead.
After we had smashed it with a brick, my daughter thought it would be cool to snap a photo of it with her cell phone and send it to all her ” followers.” Now why a ten-year-old has followers, I am not sure, but she claims it is because she is ‘interesting.’ I cannot argue with that.
That is when tragedy struck twice in the same evening. When she reached for her phone, she discovered it had fallen out of her pocket at the movie theater. Again, with the screaming, ” OMG!!!!!!! MY life is on that phone!!!!!”
Really???? Folks, she was not even a teenager yet! At this moment, I did not think I would make it through her junior high school years.
So, what happened next? You guessed it…Eleven o’clock road trip back to the mall to scour the disgusting movie theater floor. Although, we had to wait for the next show to get out because, God forbid, we disturb the three patrons in there catching the late show!
Fortunately, our patience paid off and we retrieved the phone, sticky and all, to the delight of my tween.
When I was finally able to put her to bed, I heard her whispering a prayer for the bug we had mutilated earlier in the evening.
“Thank you so much,” she said. ” If it wasn’t for you scaring the crap out of me, and me wanting to take your picture, I wouldn’t have known my phone was missing…”
“You saved me,” she continued, “and I am gonna give you the best funeral ever!”
Well, my heart about melted in my chest. What did I ever do to deserve such an awesome kid? Oh please, don’t everyone jump at once to answer that!
And the next day, true to her word, we scraped that disgusting bug from the backside of that brick and gave it the best funeral ever.
My daughter played a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace on her recorder and closed the ceremony with a prayer….” I love you buddy, and I’m so sorry we killed you.”
Later that evening, as I was leaning in to kiss her good night, she wrapped her arms around me and whispered, ” Mom, I don’t think I want to be an entomologist anymore.”
I guess we did have fireworks after all.